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Hemp, Pot & Hedge Funds October 23, 2008

Posted by Who? in Business, Health, Jobs, Lifestyle Design, Politics, Random.
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Yes, there is a difference.

Farewell Letter from Hedge Fund Manager Andrew Lahde

He pretty much sums it up- don’t really know what to add on this.  Amen?

“Capitalism is broken”.  Some might argue that our system was never working in the first place, but as of now it truly is broken.  Click here for an awesome book/eye-opening perspective- Economic Interp of the Constitution by Charles Beard (1913).  Funny that I’ve been kind of dancing around this conclusion for the last couple years.  It took someone else stating it for it to really come home.  The socio-economic system in this country is broken.  I hope that the $700B bailout package will be THE last straw.  It is the crown jewel of a system that is built upon the illusion of democracy and meritocracy.  We live in a country that is of, for and by the elite.

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(speechless). October 10, 2008

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The library of my most perverse fantasy.  There is no way you could conceptualize this without massive amounts of mind-altering substances.  Check it out.

More on the true character of Palin October 7, 2008

Posted by Who? in Election 2008, Politics, Random.
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In case you weren’t convinced of the Palin M.O.- read this.

Calling Mrs.- I mean Mr. Palin’s snowmobiling HOBBY a business is ridiculous. Shows that is willing and able to play with legal fire. I wonder if the great State of Alaska footed the bill for the the attorney to file family tax return?
I just had an “oh shit moment”…is this what she means when she has “small business experience”?

I can’t wait for this to come out.

Hospital Finance and the Credit Crisis October 7, 2008

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Last week Rob talked about  how the recession  might affect different sectors within the industry, “More On Health Care and the Recession“.   A hospital, like any business, relies on a variety of financial instruments to maintain operations- both short and long-term.  Naturally, disruptions in the markets that facilitate these transactions can cause some serious headaches for borrowers.

Remarks coming out the the Fed today- “The commercial paper market has been under considerable strain in recent weeks as money market mutual funds and other investors have become increasingly reluctant to buy commercial paper, especially longer-dated maturities.  As the market for commercial paper shrank, rates on the longer-term debt increased significantly, making it more expensive for companies to borrow.” Full article here.

More on the topic from the WSJ HealthBlog– “Hospitals traffic in debt. They borrow money for big construction projects, and they effectively lend money to patients when they treat people without requiring payment upfront.  Unable to borrow money freely or forced to pay a high cost to borrow, employers are cutting jobs and reducing capital investments.”

The credit crunch presents some hurdles for hospitals to overcome but problems can be opportunities in disguise.  The importance of conservative financial management and efficiency are magnified in times like these.  Product and services that increases efficiency start to look a lot more attractive when margins are getting squeezed and every dollar spent is getting stretched further.  Interesting article here on cutting down on “frequent fliers” in the ER– perfect example of an opportunity being capitalized on to improve the efficiency and overall delivery of medical care.

The Tragedy of Medicare Fraud: Opportunity Cost October 6, 2008

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Just came across a post in USA Today- “Rampant Medicare Fraud Suspected in Miami”. True to its government-run form, there seem to be some problems surfacing in certain Medicare paid services (Home Health Care) across the country; it seems to be particularly out of control in Florida.

“Miami-Dade County is on track to cost Medicare a projected $1.3 billion for home health care services this fiscal year, up 1,300% in just five years, government data show. Investigators suspect that fraud is helping to drive the increase because the population of Medicare beneficiaries in the county grew only 10.2% between 2004 and 2007, the latest government data show.”

This is so outrageous that you almost can’t help but laugh. How does 1300% growth go unchecked? How can the administration look at that and not say “Wait a minute- that seems a little high…”? Remember, that $1.3 billion is for Miami-Dade County ALONE. The financial waste of that county alone is staggering, but the real tragedy is the economic cost– the cost of wasted opportunity.

Let’s say that 25% of that $1,300,000,000 is the result of fraud- who knows what the actual number is but it’s safe to say that a large percentage of 1300% growth is the result of fraud. Twenty-five percent of $1.3B is 325 MILLION dollars. That is almost a 1/3 of a BILLION dollars flushed down the toilet in ONE YEAR. That is the real tragedy of federally administered health care.

Think of what an innovator could do with $325 million. Think of what an innovator could do with the interest alone on a principal balance of that size. And, again, keep in mind that this is the waste from one county and one tiny portion of the Medicare budget.

Opportunity of the Day: a private contracting firm that protects against fraud in Medicare services.

Eliminate the waste and put it in the hands of people that can create value through innovation.  It’s not rocket science.

HealthCare 2020 October 5, 2008

Posted by Who? in Business, Health, Lifestyle Design, Politics, Random, technology.
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What will healthcare look like in 2020?  2020? That’s way out in the future; we’ll probably have Jetson brand pill dispensers in our homes by then. But think about that for a second-that’s barely more than a decade away.  We might not have the pill dispensers, but one thing is for sure- things will be different. Step back 10 years- could you imagine a company not only caring about but paying for you to invest in your health?  Last fall, The Boeing Company encouraged employees to take a Health Risk Assessment and they offered a $50 gift certificate to all that participated.  Over 100,000 people partcipated.  This year, less than a month into the event, over 35,000 people have taken the Assessment and received almost $2 million in gift certificates. 

So let’s start there, healthcare is changing.  From the ways that we seek and consume info and services to the way that we view our role in partcipating in our health and paying for those services.  No matter the outcome on November 4th, 2008, things will be different.

Changing Consumption: Information and Services

The internet is changing the way consumers seek information and this includes health related info.  Three months ago I injured my wrist playing basketball.  You can guess what I did next, right?  I taped it up and finished playing- (It was a close game!!).  But—when I got home that night and my wrist completely locked up after I took the tape off, I got online and Googled something along the lines of “how to tell if your wrist is broken”.  Ended up on WebMD and later found myself at the ER.  That process is very interesting when you think about it and it represents one of the ways that healthcare has and will continue to change.  Without even realizing it, I did a prelimary examination.  I wanted to know if my wrist was broken.  Where do I go when I want information?  Google.  Medical information is no longer solely possessed and distributed by doctors and nurses AND the methods of distribution are changing.  Last week, Charlotte wrote about “telemedicine” in her post “Everything But Touch and Smell“. 

Changing Perspectives

People and even companies are changing the way that they participate in healthcare.  Boeing is just one example.  Not only have they talked the talk, but they have backed it up.  Big company or not, two-million dollars is a lot of money.  Think about that.  Attitudes are shifting from treating symptons and injuries towards wellness, lifestyle and prevention.  Not everyone is going to jump on the Wellness Bandwagon, but it will be a part of the paradigm shift.  The industry, operations and practices have to change; I spent 6 hours in the ER only to have a Physician’s Assistant refer me to my primary-care physician.  You can be sure that next time, that hospital won’t be getting my business.  And that is the key- healthcare is a business.  The table is set for innovators to come in and “wow” consumers with quality, value and efficiency.

How will we get wellness and medical information in 2020?  What will the doctor’s office, wellness center and hospital of the future look like?  Where will it be located?  How will it flow and operate?  Who will the cost-structure look like?  What the system will look like in the future is almost beside the point; the important part is that it will be different and, with the right ideas, better.

Who to Blame Video October 3, 2008

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This video makes it look like Obama has some pretty ugly ties to the Mortgage Industry.
Decide for yourself.

The Biden Sigh: McCain Ad “Sighs and Lies” October 3, 2008

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First post-debate ad from the McCain camp.

I almost can’t believe that McCain is going to try to reach back and revive the negative power of the “Gore Sigh”.  Journal article here on the Gore Sigh.  I hate deceptive and manipulative tactics.  Thus, I hate modern politics.  I just sighed.

First off, it wasn’t a sigh.  It was an exhale through the nose that caught the mic.  I interpreted it as a human breathing deeply during a stressful situation- I don’t know what he even would have been sighing in response to.  Second, of all- c’mon.  You’ve got to be kidding me?  Tired, old tactics for a tired old candidate.

I want to meet the members on McCain’s team that formulate strategy and tactics.  I want to see who it is and what they are like in person.  This is exactly the kind of stuff that turned Ted Kacynzski into the UnaBomber.  It is deception and manipulation and this is for one of the most powerful elected positions in the world.

McCain Video October 3, 2008

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Just saw this over at My 2Bucks.

I don’t necessarily agree with the commentator, but I do like to see the raw footage. I’m beginning to notice big variations in “performances” from Palin and McCain; I’m sure everyone on the campaign trail varies from time to time (that sh*t has got to be grueling), but I’m talking about candidates looking completely different. For example, McCain comes across as lucid and real in the video- an impression I don’t often get/have never received from him. He was still spewing bullschwag ( “She is qualified”) but he came across very different.

In last night’s debate, Palin came across very different as well. Her performance last night demonstrates why she was chosen- that woman can speak, she is endearing (right word?) and she is attractive. What she is not however, is intelligent; she will not be able to handle difficult situations comprised of lots of gray area and tricky nuances.

I don’t have enough caffeinne in my bloodstream to come to any kind of point right now- see if I can come back later. I want to explore my feelings about the “If I say it, it’s true” tactic that politicians use- ie when McCain fundamentally disagrees with the reporter about Palin’s experience. Being adamant and ignoring reality doesn’t make it true…or does it? Also, what is with this “I respect you…” bullzhit?? Moral of the story: people confuse speaking with intelligence.

Also, did you hear when, in detailing her “experience”, McCain cited her involvement with the PTA. WOW! Qualified to be VP because she served on the PTA? It’s gettin deep around here. According to the McCain theory of experience, Paulson should just pack his stuff up now. I was ASB Treasurer. The fact that he would even cite that blows my mind.

New Metallica Album October 2, 2008

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Haven’t listened to the whole thing- not too impressed with “The Day That Never Comes”.

Thinking about going to the concert on Dec 1st buttttttt I really don’t want to hear any of the “new” stuff.

Here is the new Unforgiven III video.